We held a community peace picnic on Thursday the 21st of January, at the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) memorial, in Avondale. This gathering was to celebrate the entry into effect the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Our peace picnic happened in the evening, following an informative live-stream session hosted by ICAN, International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons Aotearoa New Zealand, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 for their work on this treaty.
Some takeaways from the live-stream are that this treaty is powerful in international law. It is legally binding, and provides assistance to victims of nuclear testing or use. The Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons shifts the emphasis from the motives of the countries, to the weapons themselves. It sets a moral standard and is norm setting.
The entry into force of the treaty, is the beginning of the effort, not the end of the effort.
Progress in this treaty needs participation. The treaty draws up a legal framework which can be used at a later stage. Negotiation of the treaty went easily, only two sessions with four meetings. It is global and can be applied to any nation who chooses to join it. There is no veto. However there are also no safety checks, as that is done through other means.
The ban on nuclear weapons treaty comes into effect, having reached the point of having over 50 nations ratify it at the United Nations, as reported by RNZ. 86 nations have signed the treaty, and Aotearoa New Zealand, along with nine other Pacific nations, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, have been instrumental in the success. The treaty has an article providing for victim assistance procedures to be developed which the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons hopes will effect remediation efforts for the Pacific victims of nuclear tests.
The people of the Pacific have played a huge role in challenging, resisting and opposing, making progress for this global ban of nuclear weapons.
The picnic we had on the 21st of January was a beautiful experience, to gather with a mix of older and younger peace activists, and hear the stories and successes of the peace and nuclear free movement, and what we need to do in the future.
There was talk of the importance of music, culture, and collective action, reflecting on the past:
Special recognition was given by the people at the picnic to Elsie Locke who was a fantastic peace activist of the nuclear free movement and her son, Keith Locke, and daughter, our amazing activist elder Maire Leadbeater who did work in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament:
We noticed that the CND memorial garden needs up-keep, and so we are pleased to take on the awareness of this work and maintain the legacy which Aotearoa New Zealanders are proud of, being nuclear free and making the world free of nuclear weapons.
The video bellow is the government celebrations of the International Prohibition on Nuclear Weapons, with key-note speaker Phil Twiford, Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control:
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is very important for this day and age. We look forward to supporting the world wide success of nuclear disarmament.